Larissa Jensen, NPD’s beauty industry analyst, examines what will drive success for beauty brands and retailers in 2018.
It’s been said that 90 percent of purchase decisions are emotional, and thinking about what will drive the beauty industry’s growth and change in the year to come, emotion is at the forefront. After all, what can be more emotional than beauty? According to NPD, eight in 10 U.S. beauty consumers purchase beauty products because they make them feel their best in how they look, how they interact with beauty and the emotional connection they feel when purchasing the products. With consumers at the helm of the ship, the brands and retailers who are adjusting to meet their needs will continue to experience growth in 2018.
What can we expect in the coming year? More change, more emotional connections and more growth.
The Ramp Up of Experiential Retail
Brands will continue to develop alternative ways to connect with their consumers. In prestige specifically, department stores have struggled to create meaningful consumer engagement as foot traffic and dollar sales experience a slowdown. Despite this challenge, the brick-and-mortar space in retail remains an important component for driving sales growth. As beauty brands look for ways to enhance interaction with their consumers in-store, the number of pop-ups, pop-ins (store in store concepts) and experience stores will accelerate, especially in high volume cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Taking a Stand
Eighty-four percent of young people believe brands have more power to make change than governments. It should come as no surprise, then, that consumers are looking for brands that parallel their principals. Therefore, brands should be looking not through traditional means of unique product, but rather through strategies aligned with values and practices. Partisan branding will become more commonplace in the year ahead as consumers increasingly expect brands to take a stand and align on issues that are important to them. Whether it’s the environment, community, animal rights, or anything in between, brands that find ways to connect with consumers on these ideals in an authentic way can expect continued growth.
Luxury Beauty will be Redefined
Hubert de Givenchy once said, “Luxury is in each detail.” Yet, we have seen over the past year how the cornerstones of luxury – service, exclusivity and personalization – are being challenged in retail, product and experience. We can expect more of this in 2018. The fact is that consumers no longer need to pay a high price tag to receive many of the perks of a luxury product. This is not to say that traditional luxury is obsolete, but it will change. Within the luxury price-point specifically, new trends will continue to emerge that showcase consumer values in a bigger way.
As we head into the year ahead, the biggest and most definitive thing we can all expect in the beauty industry is change. While this has been a catalyst for many brands and retailers in beauty, it has left others in a space of uncertainty. But as the past few years have shown us, our industry is especially adaptable to change. And it is because of change, and all the emotion we tie into our decisions, that beauty has been at the forefront of growth across many industries, and will continue to succeed in the year to come.